Memorial Day

Charles J. Cudlike

SYNOPSIS: On May 18, 1969, SP4 Charles J. Cudlike and his unit were engaged in battlein Thua Tien Province, South Vietnam. During the fighting, Cudlike was injured, and was being medically evacuated from the battle area by helicopter. The injured teammebers were boarding the helicopter when it had to leave quickly because of a heavy volume of enemy fire. At this time, Cudlike had been unable to completely board the aircraft, and was hanging on one of the skids of the helicopter and the door gunner aboard the helicopter was trying to pull him into the ship. Due to his own wounds, the gunner was unable to pull him in. When the pilot of the helicopter became aware of the situation he started looking for a place to land, but before he could do so, Cudlike fell from the aircraft at an altitude of 500 feet into the jungle. Comprehensive searches were conducted by air with no success. Cudlike was declared Killed in Action, and his body was never recovered. War is hell. Men are killed by other men whom they call their enemy. But men are also killed by "misadventure" - by senseless drowning, falls, and by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. At 21, Charles Cudlike had just begunto live. Because no trace of Cudlike's remains were found, his name is maintained among thosewho are missing and captured in Southeast Asia. Experts believe that hundreds of these Americansare still alive, captive, and want to come home. One can imagine that Cudlike would gladly serveon one more patrol to help bring them home.

If you value your freedom then give thanks and remember the Veterans who have given their lives in the line of duty for our country. It does not matter what political side of the line you are on, just remember our military is a volunteer military. Our troops work in conditions most of us would never even consider of visiting for a moment. They do it as Volunteers and they have ensured our freedoms as a free nation since 1776.

As a Veteran I go out of my way to thank other Vets that I see in parking lots with license plates, stickers, or wearing hats, etc. So the next time you see an old timer wearing a hat and it says CV-9 USS Essex, stop him and say thanks for it is the least you can do since he was willing to die to ensure you could be Free.

D Meinhard
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